While the Rubicon has characteristically been the highest trim for most Jeep vehicles, the Gladiator might have a trim level even higher. According to rumors found on the Jeep Gladiator forums, an ultimate Jeep Gladiator trim possibly named the Hercules could dethrone the Rubicon as the top dog. Even though there isn’t a ton of information out about the Hercules Gladiator yet, there are plenty of hints for what Jeep could be cooking up.
The namesake for this new Gladiator model
The Gladiator is Jeep’s first modern foray into the mid-sized truck scene. That being said, the contours of the Gladiator’s options basically align with that of the Wrangler’s. There're the Sport and Sport S trims at the bottom, the luxury trim level (which for the Gladiator is the Overland), and then finally there’s the Rubicon at the top. While this system of trim levels has worked for Wranglers in the past, there is a specific niche particular to trucks that Jeep has yet overlooked: the beefy, loud, muscle truck.
There are plenty of examples for these top of the line truck models that are focused on raw performance. The Ford F-150 Raptor and Ranger Raptor immediately come to mind, and the Chevy Colorado ZR2 Bison has recently made a splash as well. These super-trucks are present from many major OEMs, and now that Jeep is in on the truck game, they ought to join the fray.
As much as it would be exciting to see a hellcat engine used on an official Gladiator model, that reality is somewhat unlikely. While it does fit under the hood of the Gladiator, it leaves barely any room. That along with its massive weight and inability to crumple would really tank the Gladiator’s safety rating. For that reason, the Gladiator Hercules will likely come with a more powerful variant of a smaller engine, like the stock 3.6L Pentastar engine with some form of forced induction.
How The Hercules Stacks Up
For comparison's sake, let’s take a look at the Ford F-150 Raptor, one of the trucks that the Gladiator Hercules will be competing against. The Raptor’s engine is the 3.5L EcoBoost engine, another six-cylinder engine of similar displacement to the Pentastar which makes its 450 hp and 510 lb-ft of torque due to a pair of twin turbos.
Gladiator Rubicon Pictured Above
Besides more engine power, it’s not too clear what else will be included on the Gladiator Hercules. With increased engine output, beefier drive shafts, bigger brakes, and a more robust radiator would all be a requirement(especially for an officially licensed Jeep vehicle).
If the Hercules remains slated to be an off-road heavy model like the Gladiator Rubicon, then it will likely share it’s off-road performance goodies (disconnectable sway bar, trail cam, skid plates, etc…).
With the extra power, the Jeep Gladiator Hercules could potentially tow an even greater amount than the Gladiator’s already impressive 7,650 lbs limit. Especially if the Hercules power plant is just a turbo and or supercharged Pentastar V6, then the weight won’t substantially increase while the power could see some substantial boosts.
Spy Shots of the Gladiator Hercules
There have been a few sightings of what is likely the upcoming Jeep Gladiator Hercules as well. Although the exterior is not dramatically different than a standard Gladiator, the hood does seem to be a tad bulkier. While this could be a result of the camouflage, it could also be indicative of a larger engine.
There isn’t too much to be gleaned from these spy shots. The main takeaway here is that the Jeep Gladiator Hercules is almost certainly making its way to a dealer near you in the next few years or so.
Sources: Motor1 | MotorAuthority | DriveLine
Image Credit: Wikimedia | Driveline | FiatChrysler